SINCE 1986, Coimbatore city in the state of Tamil Nadu has been witnessing communal disturbances of varying degrees. But, they involved neither rioting nor looting. After the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, violence erupted in the city. Nevertheless, the situation was then contained without any further flare-up. But, in November and December 1997, following the murder of a traffic policeman, the premier industrial city witnessed a communal conflagration unprecedented in its history.